International music educators honoured by RPS
24 April 2013
British viola player Rosemary Nalden, founder of Buskaid, is one of five music-makers working on four continents who are to receive honorary membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) at the society's awards ceremony, the 'Oscars' of live classical music, on 14 May at the Dorchester Hotel.
Andrew Lloyd Webber backs secondary schools music
24 April 2013
Andrew Lloyd Webber has launched the Music in Secondary Schools Trust, which will roll out a new music education programme in secondary schools across England. The 'Andrew Lloyd Webber Music Programme' will be supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Charles Wolfson Trust, to the tune of £2m over its first four years. It will give every child at participating schools the opportunity to study a musical instrument as part of a compulsory curriculum.
Gareth Malone to create new-style British Youth Choir
24 April 2013
Gareth Malone has launched a UK-wide search for accomplished singers aged 18-25 to join a 'ground-breaking' new British youth choir with the aim of 'celebrating the amazing talent in our country' and initiating 'a new choral style that is fresh, modern and utterly unique. Our aim will be to inspire a whole generation. Regardless of background, if you have the voice and the vision, I want you,' he said in a launch statement on 23 April.
Latest education U-turn: ABacc plans revised
15 April 2013
The government has dropped plans which would have prevented arts and creative A levels from counting in the proposed ‘ABacc’ league tables, modelled on the controversial EBacc performance measure at GCSE.
Under the proposed ABacc, schools would have been measured by the number of students achieving ABB at A level in three of the five EBacc subjects (maths, English, science, a language and history or geography). Now, only two out of three A levels need to be in these subjects to qualify for the ABacc, leaving room for one creative subject such as music.
The Incorporated Society of Musicians, which has campaigned against the EBacc, said: ‘It is vital we now show MPs that the anti-arts Ebacc and ABacc measures should either include creative subjects or be dropped – because the Department for Education has shown how easy it is to change big things without a word.’
The Institute of Career Guidance recently called the ABacc ‘a very crude measure’, saying students ‘may be persuaded to take subjects not because they are right for the individual, but because it may lead to a higher percentage in the performance measures for the institution, regardless of the pupils’ aspirations.’
New research disputes link between music and IQ
15 April 2013
Psychologists in Canada say new research proves that music does not boost children’s IQ. Many recent reports have made a link between music lessons and a child’s academic performance, but Professor Glen Schellenberg of the University of Toronoto says that evidence linking musical children to high achievement in school can be better explained by the fact that such children usually come from privileged backgrounds and have better educated and richer parents.
Schellenberg studied the link between musical training and intelligence in a group of 130 children aged 10 to 12. ‘We were motivated by the fact that kids who take music lessons are particularly good students. In school they actually do better than you would predict from their IQ, so obviously something is going on and we thought that personality might be the thing.’
But, presenting the study at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Schellenberg said that the link between music lessons and intelligence was mainly down to the children’s personalities. And when the researchers took into account the likely contribution of each child’s personality to their school grades and IQ scores, and removed it from the equation, the link between music lessons and intelligence was no longer apparent. ‘You can explain almost all of the data by saying that high-functioning kids take music lessons,’ said Schellenberg.
Professor Daniel Levitin, a psychologist from McGill University in Montreal, said the findings did not mean music lessons were valueless. ‘There are benefits to having a society where more people are engaged with the arts, so even if music instruction doesn’t make you a better mathematician or a better athlete, even if it only gives you enjoyment of music, I think that is a good end in and of itself,’ he said.
The report is available at aaas.org by typing ‘music’ into the site search engine.
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